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Analysis of: Awakening Warrior
Revolution in the Ethics of Warfare

 

Author: Timothy L. Challans

Associate Professor of Philosophy at the School of Advanced Military Studies. (Listed on back cover of the book.)

Published by: State University of New York Press

Date: 2007

ISBN: 13:978-0-7914-7126-5

Professor Challans is an instructor that the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), United States Army Command and General Staff College, For Leavenworth, Kansas.

He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel.

All highlighted sections of this analysis were done by me for emphasis.

 

The Analysis

 

When reading the Preface, the author creates a dismal picture of America and the American military. Professor Challans makes statements about America ’s failures and wars in the last 50 years. He talks about a new American militarism. He also writes about the “American war machine” as if it were a runaway military not under the direction of Congress and the president:

 

“Now that America has established over the past half-century a record of perpetual fighting, engaging for the most part in one unwinnable war after another, it is time to face the possibility that the American war machine may be doing something wrong. I am retired from the Army now, and after a career of experience and reflection I am left pondering some very painful questions about recent generations. Where did we go wrong? Many people will no doubt wonder what I mean. How did we help to make the world a worse place?” Preface xii

 

From the very beginning Professor Challans sets up that America is wrong, it is off course, and it is without moral guidelines. America enters into one war after another and is making the world unsafe.

Professor Challans has created a “Straw man argument.” Without firing a shot, the United States defeated Soviet Union . This freed tens of millions of East Europeans from the grip of a terrible Communist dictatorship. For the first time, the Russian people were able to have free elections with the hope of a free country. This was accomplished because of the strong United States military. This was very successful for world peace.

The Europeans literally begged America to free Bosnia from the Serbs. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was compared to Hitler. America ’s military responded and defeated the Serbs and freed the Bosnians. This was very successful.

Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia . America responded and was the leader of the coalition that defeated Iraq and freed Kuwait . Later, in the second Iraq war, Saddam was defeated which opened the door for Iraqis to be free and have their own government. This was very successful.

Afghanistan was a stronghold for terrorists and the safe heaven for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. The Taliban were brutal to the people. The American army liberated Afghanistan and opened the door for freedom to the people. This appears very successful.

In none of these situations was the American military an army of occupation but an army of liberation. America was used for good in these countries and not an army of oppressors. From the start, Professor Challans established a false premise about America and the military, and this false premise continues throughout his entire book. Added to this false premise are numerous historical errors to try and build a case that Americans and our army have been misguided throughout history. Based on a false premise, he then offers a new “moral course” for the American army.

He states that he has taught over 1000 students, and the ideas in the book are his and do not reflect the opinions or attitudes of the military schools:

 

“The reader should realize that my arguments are my own and do not reflect the opinions or attitudes of any military school or organization. My personal experience in the military motivates these meditations, but my argument is not merely the universal extrapolation of my singular experience.”

“More than a decade of teaching more than a thousand military students from the rank of cadet to colonel has provided me invaluable insights.” Preface xii

 

The army, by tacit approval, is agreeing with the professor when he is allowed to teach in the various army war colleges. If he is teaching the information in this book and what he said on an Internet interview (Attachment 6), then he is representing the military’s view to the students! He represents the United States Army when he teaches history and current events at the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS). If the army disagrees with Professor Challans, why then is he allowed to teach aspiring senior officers?

Major Brian Stuckert and his report Strategic Implications of American Millennialism (Attachment 9) were under the direction of Professor Challans, and therefore the report is directly connected with SAMS and the United States Army. Major Stuckert’s report clearly reflects the thinking of Professor Challans as seen in his book Awakening Warrior. I show during this analysis the link between Professor Challans’ book and the report by Major Stuckert. It appears that students under the professor are reflecting his thinking about America .

 

Professor Challans boldly states that a revolution in American thinking is needed! The old thinking has to give way to a new thinking. He is challenging the very structure and methods employed by ethics educators! He ends the Preface by stating he has guarded optimism for moral progress in the military because soldiers are waking up and are the vanguard of the revolution:

 

By revolution I mean a complete overturn, a new paradigm. My long association with this topic has led me to think the problem is systemic. Trying to repair the old system will not work. This book will be another critique among many. But this book is different because it is a systemic critique. Under the old paradigm, the solution would be to simply adjust the content of moral education: better stories, clearer rules, more relevant case studies. This won't work. My critique is not about content-what they should think. I am challenging the very structures, the methods, employed by ethics educators. This revolution will empower the warrior to know how to think about ethics, not just what to think. … This critical book ends with guarded optimism for the moral progress of the military, for some warriors are waking up, and the awakening warrior is the vanguard of the revolution. Preface xiii

 

At the end of the book, he states his guarded optimism is based on students passing through the School of Advanced Military Studies ! He is a professor at this school, so is it because of his radical ideas he is teaching, that he has this kind of optimism? He also reveals that part of his idea for the new thinking is to allow officers to disobey and dissent within the military. Is insubordination a key factor of this “new revolution” that the professor is promoting?

 

“I end with guarded optimism, for the warrior is awakening. Some warriors are beginning to think about war and morality in a serious way. Some are even thinking about means and ends in a more intellectually robust way. For example, planners who were involved in the current war in Iraq, who had been graduates of the School of Advanced Military Studies, such as Colonel Kevin Benson, had done some serious planning for the phase of the operation after the kinetic phase.” Page 185

“But since the days of invincible ignorance are gone (the medieval separation between the political and military spheres), we need a revolution in discourse so there are legitimate avenues of public reason and disagreement, dissent, and disobedience within the war machine. We need a healthier culture so that people know when and where they can speak out, disobey, walk away, or even resign in protest.” Page 186

 

It appears that insubordination is now a virtue in the new army envisioned by Professor Challans. He also is calling for a merger of the political and military spheres which is extremely dangerous. Under a dictatorship both spheres are mixed together and are used to oppress the people. As a citizen of the United States I find it frightening that a professor at an army war college is advocating merging the political and military arms of the government.

 

For this analysis, I divided Awakening Warrior into two sections to review. The first is the American military and history. The second is Christianity and religion. The examples I use are in not exhaustive.

 

The American Military and History

 

“For years after Desert Storm I wanted to believe, like many Americans, that the U.S. military had completed a moral transformation. Those of us who had been duped by our own propaganda wanted to believe that the indiscriminate killing in Vietnam had been replaced by precision munitions in Desert Storm and beyond, that the repugnant crimes of war so prevalent in the degenerate destructive fighting in Indochina had been replaced by consciously clean conventional fighting in the Gulf, and also that the psychotic psychologies of a bankrupt former generation had been swept away by a reformed professional military that fought with moral clarity and certainty. But the progress that I and many others had imagined was a myth. The story that we told ourselves in the last quarter of the twentieth century was as follows: The American military had arguably reached its historical nadir in the Vietnam era, a military bereft of most social or moral qualities.” Page 11

 

I believe the above quote represents an accurate overview of Professor Challans’ thinking as reflected in Awakening Warrior. This paragraph says it all. He views the American Army and people of a former generation as psychotic and bereft of most social or moral qualities. His book is full of this nonsense.

I am of this former generation and friends of mine died in Vietnam . The soldiers that fought in Vietnam were not the savages the professor is trying to create. There are not enough words in my vocabulary to express the horror of this quote. This is part of his showing how awful Americans are along with the army. It reminds me of Senator John Kerry’s now infamous statement calling his fellow soldiers “Baby Killers.” Both this quote of the professor and Senator Kerry’s statement are patently false.

For this statement by the professor, the Secretary of Defense needs to apologize to the American people, and especially to those families that lost a soldier in Vietnam , for allowing this man to teach at the army war college. I can only imagine the horror for those that are reading my report who lost a son, brother, dad or husband in Vietnam . I share your sorrow, but this professor and the war college must be exposed.

 

The professor goes beyond Vietnam back to World War ll and claims that America committed nuclear holocaust, genocide and massacres. Americans did not commit genocide or are massacres as part of United States military doctrine:

 

“Apparently, the moral problems that consumed the American military in earlier decades-nuclear holocaust, genocide, and massacre-are problems of the past. “ Page 11

 

The professor further argues that the invasion of Iraq was illegal. He claims the invasion by the United States was a blatant disregard of the rule of law, and he connects this to American exclusionism as a tenet of American foreign policy:

 

“In so many ways the warrior's moral sentiment remains counterintuitive to law and morality. That war apologists want to justify invading Iraq because of Iraq 's disregard for the rule of law-while the invasion itself is a blatant disregard for the rule of law-rates pretty highly on a scale of unself-conscious irony. American exclusionism is a central tenet of U.S. foreign policy.” Page 10.

 

It was according to the Constitution that Congress authorized the war with Iraq ; therefore this war was legal. What law is the professor referring to? This statement of his delegitimizes the war. Yet while under the Constitution it is definitely legal. As Americans, we answer to the Constitution and our laws.

 

Professor Challans states that both the fire-bombings along with the nuclear bombing of Japanese cities were immoral and based upon the ends-means reasoning of the military. He also questions why the soldiers were so persuaded to dismiss the immorality of the fire-bombings. He then connects the same thinking to the war in Afghanistan and Iraq . He calls these wars “manifestly criminal actions” done in the name of security:

 

“Even acts that are manifestly illegal or manifestly immoral can be dismissed or forgotten if these acts helped to bring about victory. Many people in the military still applaud the bombing of Japan , for example-the fire-bombing as well as the nuclear bombing-because they believe these actions were decisive in an American victory. We have to ask why the warriors are so persuaded to dismiss the manifest immorality of the Japanese bombings. Why are they so willing to morally justify America 's actions? Their conclusions can very strongly be attributed to the inadequate ends-means reasoning that the military institution employs. Those who argue to justify the manifestly criminal actions over the past six years in the name of secutiry are avoiding the appraisal of means employed. “Page 96 paragraph 2

 

The professor tries to impugn the character of the United States Army because of the fire-bombings of the Japanese cities. He mentions this several times calling it illegal and immoral. He also makes outrageous statements about the bombings and their effect afterwards. This attack by the professor will be addressed.

 

The professor claims that the Japanese Navy had been defeated and their army was incapable of continuing to fight. He also states that since June 26, 1945, the Emperor had instructed the government to find a way to end the war, and there was no need to use the atomic bomb. He stated it may have been used to impress the Russians to make them more agreeable to American demands, and it ushered in a dangerous global conflict called the Cold War:

 

“If the restoration of peace is the goal of victory, then that very peace may be jeopardized if victory is brought about through illegal or immoral means. Just before the United States dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, the Japanese Navy had been defeated; their army was incapable of continuing to fight since the U.S. Army had captured the outer islands and the Marines had captured the inner islands, not to mention "there had been discussions in Japan for some time about finding a way to end the war, and on June 26 the government had been instructed by the Emperor to do so."42 We did not need to employ such drastic means to end that war, and the excessive means employed jeopardized future relations. Some even argue that the "bomb was dropped to impress the Russians with American power and make them more agreeable with our demands."43 Just as the local construction of levies caused the Missouri to flood more violently along its entire length, the local destruction of Japan ushered in the much more dangerous global conflict known as the Cold War.” Page 91 paragraph 1

 

Japan was far from defeated nor ready to surrender in August 1945. The Japanese Navy was defeated and the fire-bombings had stopped the Kamikaze attacks along with destroying most of their air force; however, the Japanese Army was still functioning very well and intended on defending the mainland. During the battles of Iwo Jima, February-March 1945 and Okinawa, April-June 1945, America suffered 75,000 killed or wounded. During the battle of Okinawa upwards to 150,000 civilians died. Most were killed by the Japanese Army or committed suicide. It is obvious that a land invasion of Japan would result in enormous casualties on both sides.

War can require difficult decisions, and President Harry Truman made the decision to use the atomic bomb. This was done in the hope of shortening the war by not requiring a land invasion of the Japanese mainland. On July 26, Truman issued the Potsdam Declaration outlining the terms of Japan ’s surrender. Japan was warned of the complete destruction of its army and homeland if it did not surrender. The Japanese refused the terms and vowed to continue the war. Also, before fire-bombing Japanese cities, leaflets were dropped over the cities warning of the coming attack.

After the two atomic bombs were dropped, the Japanese military still refused to surrender. On August 8, Russia declared war on Japan and attacked the Japanese Army in Manchuria . The combination of the atomic bombs and the Russian invasion is what prompted Emperor Hirohito to tell the military to surrender. Japan was not defeated and had no intention to surrender until these two events brought the war to a close. If the United States had invaded Japan , it is highly probably the war would have dragged on for a long time with casualties in the millions. Would the death of millions satisfy the professor because nuclear weapons were not used? There was no easy way out in ending the war with Japan .

The use of atomic weapons was not used to impress the Soviet Union nor did it usher in the Cold War. The Cold War was the direct result of Joseph Stalin, the brutal Communist dictator of the Soviet Union .

 

The professor continues on his theme of the Japanese and World War ll. He believes it will be difficult for the Japanese people and the rest of the world to find a way to forget the use of nuclear weapons. He states that the Japanese started the war by attacking American military targets, but the United States ended it by indiscriminately attacking noncombatants by destroying the Japanese cities. He links the start of the war to the United States unilaterally placing economic sanctions on Japan with the intention of eliminating the Japanese influence in the Pacific region. He adds that it is possible that Japan is still carrying on war, through economic means:

 

“It will be a long time before the Japanese people and the rest of the world find a way to forget what America did to them to end the war, if ever. From the Japanese point of view, the beginning and the ending of the war stand in ironic contrast. Militarily, the Japanese started the war by attacking only military targets at Pearl Harbor, years before Hawaii became a state, and the Americans ended the war by indiscriminately attacking noncombatants in more than sixty Japanese cities with- weapons of destruction on a scale never before seen. Japan was the first to strike militarily, yet it did so roughly a year after America unilaterally placed economic sanctions on Japan (involving military presence) with the intention of eliminating the Japanese influence throughout much of the Pacific region. Today, it would be possible to argue that the Japanese are still carrying on the war, through economic means. It is noteworthy that Japan , making up so little of the world geographically may again-rival American economic strength as a partner in a future Asian co-prosperity sphere.” Page 97 paragraph 2

 

The rest of the world was delighted that Japan was defeated and the war ended. After the war, America rebuilt Japan and the two nations became great allies. There is no economic war taking place between Japan and the United States . The professor seems desperate to find something derogatory about America that he can link to the fire-bombing of Japan . It appears that Professor Challans and Muslim Jihadists share this “unforgiveness” towards America .

The professor links sanctions America places on Japan starting in September 1940, and the attack on Pearl Harbor which came a year later. He states that the purpose of the sanctions was to eliminating Japanese influence in the Pacific region. The professor does not clearly state that the sanctions prompted the Japanese to attack but that is the impression it left with me. Is the professor implying that the Japanese were only responding to American economic aggression against Japan ?

The sanctions were issued against Japan because of Japanese imperialism in Asia, and its brutal assault on China starting in 1931 and Indo-China, now called Vietnam , in 1940. America was supplying the Japanese war machine with raw material and fuel. In an effort to curtail the war machine, President Roosevelt placed the sanctions starting in September 1940 and intensifying in July 1941. Rather than having its war machine limited, Japan chose to attack the American fleet in Pearl Harbor . Japan simultaneously attacked other Asians nations to gain the needed materials. It was Japanese imperialism that started World War ll and not the American sanctions.

 

Professor Challans then claims that the way the United States defeated Japan in World War ll was not honorable; therefore, America did not have healthy international relations which helped create the Cold War with Russia . He also picked up on the thinking of the Muslim terrorist who used such ideology to justify their 1993 attack on the World Trade Center . The terrorist Ramzi Yousef stated that the attack was retribution to avenge the damage America inflicted by our bombing of Japan . The professor also adds that the victory over Japan “ran counter to the constitutional purpose of providing for the common defense.” He refers to America ’s way of ending of the war with Japan as terrorism:

 

Let's say that the American Navy defeated the Japanese Navy to bring about an honorable victory (perhaps apart from the unrestricted American submarine warfare in the Pacific). Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the rest of the military .had followed suit and had defeated the Japanese military, gaining an honorable victory. Then the end of achieving this honorable victory would have been the means to achieve an enduring peace. The end of this enduring peace would in turn have become the means to achieve normal, healthy international relations. This is how the continuum should work. But it did not work this way. The way American ended the war with Japan helped to start the Cold War. Remember, Walzer called it an act of terrorism that left America vulnerable for reprisals. And the 1993 bomber of the World Trade Center , Ramzi Yousef, testified that his motivation was to avenge the deaths that America inflicted by the bombing of Japan . So the way we ended World War II helped to motivate not only the Cold War but also the acts of terrorism against us today. The pursuit of victory in World War II ran counter to the constitutional purpose of "providing for the common defense," when considering the long view and the global system.” Page 123

 

The historical truth is that the United States bombed the Japanese cities to destroy Japan ’s war manufacturing base. This was highly successful and crippled Japan ’s ability to produce war material. The bombing brought a sudden end to the Kamikaze attacks and grounded Japan ’s air force. Did the professor expect America to allow the Kamikaze attacks to continue, and thus kill additional thousands of Americans? America helped rebuild Japan after the war and the two nations became great allies. After the war, the fire bombings were never an issue in Japanese-American relations.

The idea that the fire bombings of Japanese cities somehow contributed to the creation of the Cold War with Russia is a false assumption. Joseph Stalin was a ruthless Communist dictator who wanted world domination. The Cold War rests with Russia and not in any part with the United States . America was never a threat to attack Russia , but Russia was a grave threat to Europe as seen by the invasions of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

In a seemingly treasonous way, Professor Challans is agreeing with the idea of terrorists in their motive for attacking America . This is perhaps the most serious statement of Professor Challans against America . To the Islamic terrorists, America is the great Satan that stands in the way of an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East and the world. America is also an ally of Israel . These were their reasons for attacking America .

The firebombing of Japan had nothing to do with the Islamic terrorist attacks on America . It was just an excuse to try and justify their terrorism, and Professor Challans goes along with this argument! It is beyond comprehension that a Professor in a military war college would agree with the reasoning of Islamic terrorists for their attack on America . This justifying of the terrorists’ motives is a form of giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

 

Professor Challans then reasons that the American ethos of victory at any cost led to the brutality of the war in the Pacific. America matched the Japanese in the determination to win and never give up. In the professor’s thinking, what was America supposed to do when fighting the Japanese; not fight to win or when the fighting became difficult go home? The following quote is more amazing reasoning from a professor at the School of Advanced Military Studies :

 

“Let's take a closer look at the code of the warrior. Victory loses its meaning if nation-states are unwilling to lose. The same warrior code that Westerners admire as part of Japanese culture-a code that encourages victory at any price while forbidding defeat-paradoxically escalated the brutality of World War II until it ended in a horrific cataclysm. The warrior code appears to be admirable at first glance: never give up, death before dishonor, and so on. But should it be so admirable? The Japanese soldiers were fanatics, even becoming suicidal (from a Western viewpoint-the Japanese did not consider it to be suicide). The suicidal fanaticism displayed by the Japanese soldiers on the Pacific Islands was met with like determination by the Americans, which led to fighting as barbaric as any in history. The code appears to work fine as long as only one side in a conflict practices it, but barbarism returns as soon as both sides adopt it. As soon as one side has adopted the code, however, it has departed from one of the foundations of conventional warfare.” Page 123

 

How was the American Army supposed to fight the Japanese? The Japanese would not surrender and fought to the death. What gentle tactics does an army use with an enemy like this?

 

Professor Challans even refers back to the Civil War in an attempt to attack the American war ethos. He paints Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant as being driven by President Lincoln to win at all costs. He then states that General Lee was not as extreme as General Grant and surrendered in an honorable way. General Grant’s “unchivalrous and ungenerous” edict of unconditional surrender was a foreshadow of the Reconstruction that was to follow:

 

“The new American warrior code-never give up, win at any cost, death before dishonor-sounds very noble. The warriors like it a lot. But do we like it because we think we are the only ones who now hold such a code? What happens when everyone follows our lead and adopts the warrior code?' A couple of examples may help to illustrate this subtle yet vitally important point.

Robert E. Lee was confounded during the first two years of the American Civil War because he enjoyed stunning military victories over the Army of the Potomac , yet the war did not end but continued for years. Lee eventually surrendered. He could have led his Army through years of guerilla warfare, but it appeared that Grant adopted the warrior ethos to a greater degree than Lee did. Grant and his generals, driven by Lincoln , were prepared to go to any extreme to win. Lee was not; enough of the chivalrous code was left in Lee to surrender in an honorable way. Grant's imposition of the "unchivalrous and ungenerous" edict of unconditional surrender foreshadowed the equally unchivalrous and ungenerous occupation and reconstruction that was to follow. What would have happened if Lee too had adopted the warrior ethos of never giving up? Well, while Lee was chivalrous enough to surrender his Army, the population at large resisted their defeat in numerous ways, refusing to go through the protocols of defeat. While Lee was an honorable soldier, some of his juniors resisted their defeat by being instrumental in the Ku Klux Klan-with the goal of kill or be killed. Lincoln proclaimed emancipation for blacks in the South, but this resistance to defeat prevented full emancipation for another century. Military victory is no longer decisive in warfare.” Page 124

 

In his attempt to prove there is something terribly wrong with American thinking and actions going far back into history, Professor Challans exhibits a gross lack of knowledge of American history and especially the Civil War.

General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia were given the best possible surrender terms. After four years of bitter fighting and hundreds of thousands dead, General Grant’s surrender terms were to go home! The Confederate soldiers and officers were allowed to keep their horses, mules and weapons. They had to agree not to take up arms against the United States , and they were then paroled. General Grant told his army they could not cheer the surrender because “The Confederates were now our countrymen, and we did not want to exult over their downfall." General Lee and his officers were never tried for treason. General Grant’s terms of surrender were in no way connected to the creation of the Ku Klux Klan. What in Professor Challans’ thinking could motivate him to link these two events?

Major General Joshua Chamberlain was in charge of the surrender ceremony. As the Confederate army was marching before his troops, General Chamberlain ordered a soldier’s salute to honor the Confederate Army! The following is from General Chamberlain’s diary:

 

“Gordon, at the head of the marching column, outdoes us in courtesy. He was riding with downcast eyes and more than pensive look; but at this clatter of arms he raises his eyes and instantly catching the significance, wheels his horse with that superb grace of which he is master, drops the point of his sword to his stirrup, gives a command, at which the great Confederate ensign following him is dipped and his decimated brigades, as they reach our right, respond to the 'carry.' All the while on our part not a sound of trumpet or drum, not a cheer, nor a word nor motion of man, but awful stillness as if it were the passing of the dead.”

 

This is the real American ethos and not the illusionary one created by Professor Challans. There was no slaughter of the confederate soldiers or hangings of its officers. General Lee’s citizenship was restored, and he able to live out the rest of his life as Chancellor of Washington and Lee College . What other nation ended a bitter civil war in a similar manner as this?

Unfortunately, President Lincoln was assassinated by a Southern sympathizer. This event set into motion what is known as the Reconstruction, which caused such bitterness in the South. This would not have happened if President Lincoln had continued in office. This is what the President said at the Second Inaugural address:

 

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

 

Professor Challans also claims that “right-wing republicans and Christian” officers are extremely vulnerable to authority. He states that officers who are skeptical and philosophical are not so vulnerable. Religious officers are comfortable with moral authority and thus find it difficult to question military leaders and the government and the Iraq war. This explains why, as a group, they supported the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq . He adds, they also supported Israel ’s invasion of Lebanon :

 

“The model of moral authority is the culprit here. It is no accident that the vast majority of officers in the U.S. military are both right-wing republicans and Christians. This officer corps is extremely vulnerable to authority, and authority is a key element in both right-wing conservative politics and in religion. Those who are skeptical and philosophical would not be so vulnerable to authority, and such people are rarely found to be conservatively political or religious. Conservative, religious officers are quite comfortable with the idea of moral authority. As such, they find it more difficult to question our leaders and our government about the current Long War. This common denominator of moral authority explains the fact that the group that supported the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq was largely both conservative politically and religious. They also supported Israel 's invasion of Lebanon . Page 139”

 

The professor laments that Christian officers in the military obey orders! To his horror, they might agree with war in Iraq and Israel invading Lebanon . If I understand the military, officers are supposed to obey orders and not question their superiors and civil authority, yet, Professor Challans views this as a weakness. Is the professor looking to foster insubordination in the military? Why would a professor in a war college lament that Christian officers follow orders?

The use of such charged terminology illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq is once again beyond the pale. Why is he allowed to teach such nonsense which gives aid and comfort to America ’s enemies? This is exactly what the Islamic terrorists’ state. After reading his book, I sense that Professor Challans could have the effect of debilitating the morale of the officers he is teaching. I am very concerned that Professor Challans’ teachings are so anti-American that it could be used to help form a cabal against the civilian authority of the United States of America .

 

Christianity and Religion

 

The professor spends a few pages attacking the function of chaplains in the army teaching ethics. He does this under the idea of separation of church and state. I am not going to address the chaplain issue here, but will leave this up to chaplains within the army to defend their position. It is clear from this book; the professor wants the chaplains to refrain from teaching any ethics.

He makes one statement that is very noteworthy of his own beliefs. He talks about the encroachment of Christianity into America ’s military institution. He recommends a book that looks into the “abyss of religious fundamentalism at the heart of political power.” He then states that “the apocalyptic horse of war has been saddled with a steadily increasing load of religious baggage.”

The reason this is so important is Major Stuckert’s thesis Strategic Implications of American Millennialism is based on this concept. Professor Challans lightly touches on millennialism and the apocalypse, while Major Stuckert goes into great detail. This shows the direct connection between Professor Challans and Major Stuckert’s thesis:

 

“The alarm I felt years ago was more than fully warranted, given the encroachment of religion since the turn of the century upon politics and war, pushing its roots deep into America 's military institutions. For a frightening look into the abyss of religious fundamentalism at the heart of political power, see Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy (Viking Press, 2006). For a long time, though, the apocalyptic horse of war has been saddled with a steadily increasing load of religious baggage.” Page 43

 

Professor Challans then states he is alarmed about the trend in the military of merging ethical and religious thinking into a moral fundamentalism. He is concerned about Christianity being more open in the work place. He then attacks General William Boykin for statements he made. Professor Challans then links General Boykin’s fundamental Christian beliefs with that of Islamic terrorists! He doubts that the General’s decision making because he is conditioned by millennial apocalyptic beliefs:

 

“A dangerous recent trend in military ethics is the merging of ethical thinking with religious thinking, a kind of moral fundamentalism evolving from the twin roots of political and moral authority. Religious neutrality has shifted to that of religious foundation. The military over the last decade has become more and more openly religious, and this openly religiosity in the workplace is becoming more and more accepted, partly due to the current interest in indoctrinating morality.(39) The recent publicity over retired General William Boykin's grandiloquent religiosity is instructive in at least two ways. First, we should seriously challenge the idea of having a person in such a strategic position during an interminable war against terrorism whose religious fundamentalism rivals that of those with whom we are allegedly at war against. Should someone whose perceptions, beliefs, conclusions, and judgments are conditioned by millennial apocalyptic presumptions be making decisions about actionable intelligence? With General Boykin, religion has made its way into the strategic level of politico-military affairs.”  Page 44,45

 

These statements by Professor Challans about “millennial apocalyptic presumptions” are expanded upon in Major Stuckert’s report Strategic Implications of American Millennialism. This again shows the direct link between Challans and Stuckert. Does Professor Challans have any understanding of American history and how chaplains and Christianity are ingrained in the military from the beginning of the nation? He thinks this is a late development and wants the army divorced from anything that is Christian.

Professor Challans then links President George W. Bush with Osama bin Laden by claiming that that President Bush uses irrational rhetoric just as does Osama bin Laden. He called it an apocalyptic code. He also claims that the war on terror is a quasi-religious crusade against terror by the President! These statements appear as clear insubordination and/or treason on the part of a professor at the School of Advanced Military Studies :

 

“This phenomenon has never been as prominent as it has become during the administration of George W. Bush. Religionists are making headway symbolically and substantially as well. Christian symbols will become more prominent in our governmental and educational spheres. Christians enjoy political financial support and incentives as well as a level of influence never before seen. The " Vatican of the West," Colorado Springs , headquarters the most powerful political lobbies in American politics. The Dominionists-with a Christo-fascist agenda that falls nothing short of creating an American Taliban-were "fundamental" in the last presidential election. President Bush employs the same irrational rhetoric that Osama bin Laden: uses apocalyptic code that conveys a Manichean struggle between good and evil, invoking an inevitable clash of civilizations. In reality, we are faced with a "clash of fundamentalisms." And the military chaplaincy has become more evangelical every year.” Page 45,46

“The specter of religious authority in the military looms over most of them, haunting them to believe that religion and morality should be linked together for the military as a public institution. This belief is increasingly problematic in the military, even more so when the commander-in-chief, to whom they already defer to in the extreme, brings religion into the public, political domain and leads the country through its moral discourse into a quasi-religious crusade against terrorism.” Page 32,33

 

The use of presidents speaking in an apocalyptic code is also found in Major Stuckert’s report which just mirrors Professor Challans anti-American/Christian rhetoric.

 

The professor claims that he detailed in his book actual war crimes and atrocities scripturally commanded by God. He claims the Bible is one of the most genocidal books ever written and adds that all the Abrahamic religions are dangerous because they are based on faith. He also states that Sampson was the first suicide killer, and Christianity is laced with the ideas of sacrifice and martyrdom:

 

“Chapters 1 and 3 detail many of the actual war crimes and atrocities scriptually commanded by God, demonstrating the first untenable consequence of basing military ethics on religion. The Bible is one of the most genocidal books ever written. The necessary illusion propagated currently is that the Islamic faith is somehow more dangerous and violent than the Christian faith. Others may take a different approach and claim that the current rash of Islamist extremists is a perversion of peaceful religion. I would argue that all of the Abrahamic religions are equally dangerous because they are all based on faith, which by definition is the lack of reason. Islamic suicide bombing is a recent phenomenon, roughly only two decades old. The first suicide killer was Sampson, and Christianity is laced with ideas of sacrifice and martyrdom.” Page 47 paragraph 1

 

As I read chapters 1 and 3 of this book, there were no Scriptural commands listed by the professor. I am at a loss to explain how he could make such a statement without anything in his book to support it! He then states the examples he gave demonstrates the untenable consequences of basing military ethics on religion! Once again, as I read Awakening Warrior, I found nothing to substantiate this statement.

When Christianity as based on the Bible is lived by faith, it is not dangerous as the foundation is love. When one bases his thinking on reason, apart from God’s word, the French Revolution and godless Communism come to mind. Perhaps it is reason based on really nothing that is so dangerous.

 

Professor Challans then quotes from the German philosopher Immanuel Kant to justify his attack on Christianity. He uses this quote as a proof to be wary of divine moral guidance:

 

“Kant gives us cogent rationale for being wary of divine moral guidance.

For if God should really speak to man, man could still never apprehend it was God speaking. It is quite impossible for man to apprehend the infinite by his senses, distinguish it from sensible beings, and recognize it as such. But in some cases man can be sure that the voice he hears is not God's; for if the voice commands him to do something contrary to the moral law, then no matter how majestic the apparition may be, and no matter how it may seem to surpass the whole of nature, he must consider it an illusion. We can use, as an example, the myth of the sacrifice that Abraham was going to make by butchering and burning his only son at God's command (the poor child, without knowing it, even brought the wood for the fire). Abraham should have replied to this supposedly divine voice: "That I ought not to kill my good son is quite certain. But that you, this apparition, are God--of that I am not certain, and never can be, not even if this voice rings down to me from (visible) heaven. "(45)” Page 47 paragraph 2

 

Kant is the perfect example of a mind darkened by philosophy that is incapable of grasping any spiritual truth. This is not the place to try and fully explain Genesis 22 to which Kant was referring. This was a special event limited to Abraham. In Christian theology, Abraham was representative of God the Father while Isaac was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ dying for the sin of mankind.

There is extremely deep theological significance to this event which Kant with an almost savage mind attacks. The use of this quote by Professor Challans is a direct attack on the Bible and Christian theology.

 

The professor then links the killing of 3,000 Americans on 911 with the United States war on terrorism by claiming America has killed one hundred times that many (300,000). He links America defending itself against Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq as equivalent to the attack on the United States . He claims that America is a fundamentalist Christian nation with a fundamentalist president and will never acknowledge this mass killing. He then makes this into a religious war where America thinks it is good and the Islamic terrorists are evil, but “evil is in the eye of the religious beholder.”

 

“The world is on fire right now, fueled by religiously informed political action. Rarely a day has gone by in the last six years that I have not been reminded in some way that non-state actor Islamic fundamentalist extremists killed three thousand Americans. And I am consistently reminded of the dangers of an emerging Islamic threat that is a state actor-Iran. I would like to see a single acknowledgment that a fundamentalist Christian nation with a fundamentalist president has been responsible for the deaths of potentially one hundred times that many. The government can never make this acknowledgment, though. Their attack was "unjust" our' response "just." The Americans who died were "innocent." This scholastic language is religiously informed. We are good, and our enemy is evil; there can be no comparison. But evil is in the eye of the religious beholder.” Page 48,49

 

The hatred for America is just oozing out of this quote. America is as evil as the 911 terrorists! With beliefs like this, how can this man be a professor at the war college? I believe he would not be accepted in many non-military colleges let alone a United States military college.

I end this segment on religion with a rather long quote. This section of the book appears to be a declaration of war against Christianity. It is a no holds barred call to remove everything connected with Christianity out of the military and out of any decision making. He actually states the world would be a better place if Jesus Christ “had never shown up on the scene.” He believes that America , through fundamentalist Christianity, is leading the world away from the Enlightenment and back into the “Dark Ages:”

 

“The military and related political institutions should remove all religious influence from its moral and political concerns. We should not be choosing our wars based on apocalyptic prophesies from a millennial mindset or going to war because the commander-in-chief gets orders from above and beyond to attack a country. War is too serious a matter to be left to the mystagogueries of faith. Matters of right and wrong, good and bad, should also be based on rationale that everyone can assent to, which means such matters cannot depend upon moral articles of faith. Chaplains and religious zealots -and proselytizers should stay out of the moral and political affairs of the military. And they should not employ religion or spirituality in an instrumental way to recruit for crusades or to inspire courage on the battlefield-such instrumental use of religion diminishes both religion as well as moral courage. no While historians and Middle East regional specialists (for the most part particularists) spend their time pointing out the differences-through analysis-between Islam (mostly bad) and Christianity (mostly good) or Judaism (mostly good), philosophers see-through synthesis-more similarity than difference. All three of these religions are Abrahamic, and all Abrahamic religions are Oriental (Middle-Eastern). All Abrahamic religions share the same moral limitations: they are all dependent upon authority and sacred texts that can direct humans to inflict grave moral error upon other humans ...  Some are now worried that religion and its influence in politics and war is growing so much that it may actually be rolling back the Enlightenment. The self-destructive irrationalities of faith act as viruses in the mind, plunging societies affected by Abrahamic viruses into epochs of darkness, dark ages that last a millennia or more. The Renaissance and the Enlightenment helped pull the West out of the Dark Ages, but the United States could unilaterally lead the West backwards with its religiosity. Both of the most influential theologians-Augustine and Aquinas condone the killing or torture of heretics, respectively. Islam is several centuries behind the West and is still in its Dark Age having not yet experienced a Renaissance or Enlightenment. I wonder how much better the world would be if the Abrahamic religions had never shown up on the scene. The once thriving ancient civilizations would have progressed unfettered without a Yahweh, Christ, or Mohammed.” Page 70.

 

The professor wonders how much better the world would be without the Holy God of Israel and the Lord Jesus Christ. This question made me think of a Bible verse that shows what would have happened:

 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

Professor Challans has publicly stated he teaches the ideas of his book openly at SAMS. Is this school trying to create a religious war within the army? This war of ideas has just spilled over into the American public, and we intend to defend America against this radical and treasonous attack on America and Christianity.

Professor Challans and those like him in the United States army and government want to take America down an extremely dangerous road of man’s reason without God and to the Enlightenment. It appears from Professor Challans’ book and thinking he is a man of the Enlightenment.

The European Enlightenment of the eighteenth century was an extremely dangerous ideology loosed on the world that was the direct cause of the French Revolution! The French rejected God and based their thinking on human reasoning. This resulted in destruction of France with the bloodbath that followed and the rise of Napoleon to power. Then the turmoil in France engulfed all of Europe into a massive war.

The ideas of the Enlightenment did not end with the French Revolution and the defeat of Napoleon. It continued right into the Russian Revolution and godless Communism. The death and destruction caused by Communism are beyond measure. The concepts of the Enlightenment should be rejected by every sound thinking American.

The American Revolution was anchored in Christianity and not the Enlightenment. The rights of the American people are not based in man’s reason but God’s, as written in the Declaration of Independence:

 

“We hold these truths to be self evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness … “

 

The American Revolution did not result in a blood bath and a dictator who created a massive war, but rather a stable government that has lasted until this day. Every real American needs to stand against these extremely dangerous anti-American/Christian concepts of Professor Challans that are being openly taught at the war college. The ideas of Professor Challans are not new, but have wrecked havoc on the world.

As a citizen of the United States , I want to think the very best about the United States military. With Professor Challans’ teaching in the war college my faith in America is unnerved. It is incredulous to think that Major Hasan, an Islamic jihadist, could give public jihad PowerPoint presentations to the military. I find it just as incredulous that Professor Challans can openly teach at the School of Advanced Military Studies , United States Army Command and General Staff College. The quotes from his book speak for themselves. I am very concerned that a cabal has formed in this war college.

 

“I end with guarded optimism, for the warrior is awakening. Some warriors are beginning to think about war and morality in a serious way. Some are even thinking about means and ends in a more intellectually robust way. For example, planners who were involved in the current war in Iraq, who had been graduates of the School of Advanced Military Studies, such as Colonel Kevin Benson, had done some serious planning for the phase of the operation after the kinetic phase.” Page 185

 

ILJ: Timothy you’ve been very generous with your time, a final question if I may. What sort of feedback, if any, have you received from the military establishment about your ideas in this book?

Challans: The feedback has been positive, from students and colleagues. Nobody has approached me to challenge me on anything I've said. I think the time is right for a moral dialogue of the sort I'm trying to carry out, one that can be critical enough to help us better understand where we've been, what we're doing, and where we're going. (From the Internet interview of Professor Challans)

 

 

 

By John McTernan
Defend and Proclaim the Faith

Blog: John McTernan’s Insights at www.johnmcternan.name

Meet author John McTernan
During numerous appearances on television, radio and in seminars, he has publicly defended Israel in light of Biblical prophecy. His current best selling book is As America Has Done To Israel.
He is author of the acclaimed book God's Final Warning to America, and co-author of the bestseller Israel: The Blessing or the Curse. From his experience debating, John wrote the Only Jesus of Nazareth series. This series includes: Only Jesus of Nazareth Can Sit on the Throne of David and Only Jesus of Nazareth Can Be Israel's King Messiah. Additionally, he has written several tracts, including Muhammad or Jesus: The Prophet Like Unto Moses, and The Koran vs the Bible.

As America Has Done to Israel

2011 John P. McTernan
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